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The BBL experience – Rowdy in Frankfurt +++ Fearless predictions: Euroleague playoffs +++ A Dario triple-double? Now that’s good timing +++ Swee’ Pea needs your help +++ Final Four: What the bookies say when the bookies talk +++ The greatest Eurodance tribute to Goran Dragic ever +++ Swaggy P’s tribute to Os moving back to the USA +++ Help Swee’ Pea make the big screen +++ The Dish: Can I play with Madness? +++ Just point out the bounce +++
Aug
0

J.R. Holden: “In 10 years, I see myself possibly being a GM in Europe”

Sure, BallinEurope will promote this one. If you haven’t seen it already, be sure to check out a good long interview with retired Team Russia/CSKA Moscow guard J.R. Holden by Erildas Budraitis over at Real GM. Holden, who BiE believes will someday be enshrined in the FIBA Hall of Fame, manages to touch on just about every single memorable point of his career in the piece, talks about “what if” and the future.

A few highlights … On first arriving in Latvia, he says “My goodness…” (No, really, J.R. Holden says “My goodness”) “…it was a scary time for me. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had no idea where Riga, Latvia was located in the world. I was a little worried I wasn’t good enough to be a professional basketball player in Europe. It was so far away from home and my comfort zone…”

On The Shot of 2007, J.R. jokes that “Spanish people love me now and I love them too.”

But the real note of interest to Continental fans is the capper: “In 10 years, I see myself possibly being a General Manager for a team in Europe.”

The entire interview runs here; swell highlight clip runs below. And yes, the shot (seriously remixed).

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May
1

Jonas Kazlauskas vs. Dusan Ivkovic: Euroleague history will be made

It’s a trivia question with an expiration date – and that date is tomorrow. To wit: “Which head coach holds the record for longest time between Euroleague titles?”

For the next, what, 26 hours or so, the answer is “Alexander Gomelsky.” Most well-known as the Team USSR coach, the Naismith/FIBA Hall of Famer took the Euroleague title in 1960 with ASK Riga and would return to take the championship with CSKA Moscow in ’71.

But this year’s matchup of CSKA and Olympiacos automatically changes that. Featuring coaches Jonas Kazlauskas and Dusan Ivkovic, the record will be rewritten at tomorrow night’s Euroleague championship. Kazlauskas was handed an all-star lineup with Moscow this year to return to his first EL Final Four – never mind the championship game – since 1999; in that season, he brought a Žalgiris squad which included the likes of George Zidek, Thomas Masiulis, Saulius Štombergas and Tyrus Edney to the top.

And though Ivkovic has been more of a presence in Euroleague play since the 90s, the coach’s title drought is even longer than that of Kazlauskas, having taken the championship with Olympiacos back in the Reds’ only triple crown season of 1997.

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Apr
180

Why Andrei Kirilenko and CSKA Moscow must win the Euroleague

Regular readers of BallinEurope may recall a similarly entitled writeup on Montepaschi Siena on these pages from a long time ago – actually two weeks, but already it *feels* like quite a spell. Contributing writer Enrico Cellini was as surprised as any of us when Olympiacos began Siena’s ejection from the tournament, Facebook-messaging BiE with the note that “Siena is trying its best to prove me wrong…”

But this post doesn’t concern BiE’s now-busted bracket, a frustrating finish to what had been a good-looking campaign for Montepaschi Siena, or even the Final Four surprise Olympiacos. Nope, we’re talking CSKA Moscow and that individual symbol of all of international basketball in 2011-12, Andrei Kirilenko.

In fact, why waste time? BallinEurope gets right down into an even 10 reasons why CSKA and the AK must win the 2012 Euroleague title.

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Nov
0

Vlade Divac: The BallinEurope/YouTube career retrospective

BallinEurope sends out hearty congratulations to Serbian great Vlade Divac on his nomination for possible entry into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s “Class of 2012.”

While Divac may be known as a famous trivia answer (“Who was traded for Kobe Bryant?”) or by the dreaded “F-word” (i.e. “flopper” as used in – really – this Los Angeles Times blog entry detailing the story of Vlade’s honor), this nomination shows a lifetime of accomplishment on the basketball court. Heck, in the NBA alone, Divac topped 13,000 points, 9000 rebounds, 3000 assists and 1500 blocked shots over 16 seasons. And then there were those “Dream Team” years with Team Yugoslavia and the glorious early days with KK Partizan in the 1980s, highlighted by Korać Cup titles and Divac’s “Mr. Europa” trophy.

Today, BallinEurope pays tribute to a personal favorite on the occasion in the best way possible: With a YouTube-laden rundown of his long and memorable career! Check out Divac’s progress through turns with Partizan Belgrade, the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, the “Dream Team” Yugoslavian squads, and of course KK Crvena Zvezda during the 1999 NBA player lockout…

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Oct
15

Sasha Vujacic, Jordan Farmar seek to join elites in 2012

Sasha? Really?

It’s perhaps the most famous Euroleague-related trivia question, and this season sees two more players in a quest to join the likes of a noted half-dozen, including some of the game’s all-time greats – would you believe that duo seeking to join this elite are named Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar?

The €20,000 question is of course, “Which players have won both Euroleague and NBA titles?” Hint: There are six in total, and two are Americans. Guess before clicking “Read More…” to test your skills – BiE’s trusting you to stay away from Google searches and Wikipedia…

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Aug
7

Career retrospective: Arvydas Sabonis, Hall of Famer

In honor of the legendary Arvydas Sabonis, the man Scottie Pippen once called “The greatest European basketball player ever to play the game,” entering the Basketball Hall of Fame, BallinEurope this morning reruns its career retrospective on the big man’s incredible career.

Quite a collection of rare Sabonis footage exists in the collective consciousness of YouTube, an ideal jumping-off point for that burgeoning bunch of basketball fans who never saw the man play or even experienced a world in which the Soviet Union exists.

Congratulations again to Sabas and thanks for the memories!

• 1979-1989 (and again from 2000-2005): Žalgiris Kaunas
From Sabonis first getting into the professional system with hometown club to courtside videocam shots of his final pro season back with his first team, this Lithuanian-language clip is loaded with rare footage.

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Apr
9

Arvydas Sabonis: A career retrospective, via YouTube

BallinEurope sends out huge, 7’3” congratulations this morning to all-time great Arvydas Sabonis, finally inducted into the Professional Basketball Hall of Fame alongside luminaries such as Chris Mullin, Dennis Rodman (whoa, that’s still weird), Artis Gilmore, Tex Winter, “Goose” Tatum, Tom “Satch” Sanders, Tara Van Derveer, Herb Magee, and Teresa Edwards.

A tribute in the form of career retrospective to the pride of Lithuanian basketball follows – in the finest fashion BiE knows: video clips! Quite a collection of rare Sabonis footage exists in the collective consciousness of YouTube, an ideal jumping-off point for that burgeoning bunch of basketball fans who’d never seen the man play or even experienced a world in which the Soviet Union exists.

Thanks for the memories, Sabas!

• 1979-1989 (and again from 2000-2005): Žalgiris Kaunas
From Sabonis first getting into the professional system with hometown club to courtside videocam shots of his final pro season back with his first team, this Lithuanian-language clip is loaded with rare footage.

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Sep
1

FIBA 2009 Hall of Fame class includes Chazalon, Ferrándiz, Big O

FIBA yesterday announced its 2009 Hall of Fame class and will induct 11 new members into the hallowed halls at Alcobendas (near Madrid) on September 22; a ceremony honoring the great figures of European ball will be held on September 20 in Katowice, Poland, before the Eurobasket 2009 finals.

European luminaries in the class include Jacky Chazalon, long-time member of Team France; referees Marcel Pfeuti of Switzerland and Artenik Arabadjian of Bulgaria; and Real Madrid coach-of-legend Pedro Ferrándiz.

Other inductees include Ricardo González (player, Argentina); Al Ramsay (“contributor,” Australia); Luis Martin (“contributor,” Argentina); Pete Newell (coach, USA); Ubiratan Pereira (player, Brazil); and the man who needs no parenthetical, Oscar “The Big O” Robertson.

Jacky Chazalon puts an exclamation point on a championship-heavy career with her induction into the Hall of Fame, adding the honor to post-career accolades such as the title of France’s women’s basketball player of the century in 1999.

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